LATEST NEWS: There is a new website which deals with the cafe and includes the latest menu: https://frankiehowerdhubandcafe.weebly.com There is also a map to show where we are.
When Frankie and Dennis bought “Wavering Down House” in Cross, Somerset, they did so after falling in love with the beautiful scenery and calm of the countryside that surrounded the Webbington Country Club where they spent many weekends escaping the pressures of London. What they didn’t know was how welcome they would be made to feel by the local community who treated Frankie as a local rather than a famous star of stage and screen. Frankie could walk to the local pub for a drink or four and sit in the local church practising his lines for “Up Pompeii!” without being photographed or being pestered for his autograph. Frankie and Dennis felt relaxed in the local community and valued the privacy they were given to entertain other stars at their home, including Elizabeth Taylor, Cilla Black and June Whitfield.
It seemed fitting, therefore, that The Trust should continue supporting the community they cherished by building The Frankie Howerd Community Hub which could support locals with vital services they have lost over recent years.
Frankie would have remembered the local shop, the post office and the bus service that passed his house: all now history! The new hub, which is within sight of the Webbington, aims to provide a new shop and a bus service in addition to a cafe and activities’ centre.
Creating The Frankie Howerd Community Hub has taken a long time. The plan was launched in 2015, followed by consultations with the community. Based on the old blacksmith’s shop in Loxton, it is sited in a conservation area which is within the Mendip Hills’ AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Many meetings were held with the planning authority before planning permission was granted in 2018. Once approved, The Trust set about raising funds and a decision was made to create the hub in two phases. The first, to convert the blacksmith’s into a cafe and shop, and the second to build the activity centre along with a commercially equipped kitchen. In the meantime, the Trust hopes to buy a minibus to operate a return service between the villages and the hub. This will be particularly valuable to the elderly and those unable to drive. We are also crowdfunding in conjunction with AEDdonate to purchase a defibrillator. If you can donate some money for this, please look at the “HELP” or the “DONATE” pages for a link to their site.
Phase 1 is now complete and we have a lovely cafe serving a wide range of food and drink. The Trust is grateful to both the National Grid and main donor, The Enovert Trust, for their financial support. Please look at our “COMMUNITY HUB” page to see the finished result!
With the huge increase in the cost of building materials since our initial plans, we now need to raise around £200,000 to complete Phase 2, which includes The Dame June Whitfield Activities’ Centre. Donations and support will be gratefully received.
The Trust envisage that the hub will not only support the local community but will be of help to tourists visiting the AONB and walkers and cyclists on the West Mendip Way.
Donations received to date:
National Grid £40,000
Enovert Community Trust £34,000
National Lottery – Awards for All £10,000
Lord Archer of Weston
Nigel and Jane Lincoln